Metal-cutting to get single-engine Tejas fighter airplanes to begin in February.
Metal cutting, first step at the start of commercial production, of the of indigenously produced single-engine fighter airplane Tejas (Mk-II) is scheduled for February 2020, according to Dr Girsh S Deodhare, manager of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and mind of the Tejas programme.
The Mk-II will have more advanced detectors including a powerful radar, enabling the fighter for surgeries beyond the visual range, and improved avionics. The fighter will have the ability to fly with fuel and weapons compared to its predecessors Mk-1 and Mk-1A.
The IAF is purchasing fighters and 123 Mk-1. The Tejas Mk-II will be several tons heavier and is designed to fit in the medium weight categories of fighters.
Recently the IAF told the government that it is ready to buy more indigenous fighters to replace its aging fighter fleet. The Tejas (Mk-II) are supposed to replace the existing French-made Mirage -2000 and Russian -created MiG-29 course of fighters. ‘The designing stage is over’ Dr Deodhare said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are looking at the Tejas as a replacement for the the French-made Mirage-2000 class of fighters, around a dozen of which have been pressed into action on February 26 to bomb a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in reprisal for the February 14 terrorist assault in Pulwama that murdered 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers.
The model of this Tejas (Mk-II) is anticipated to be flying in about two decades. The metal cutting will require about a year to 18 months. Tejas Mk -II, that will be fitted with a GE-414 engine, has been scheduled to make its initial flight in 2024. .
The DRDO has been criticized and even ridiculed for slow progress made in key military programmes, especially the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) programme, which has taken about a decade-and-a-half to mature. Nonetheless, the Tejas has the unique distinction of not being included in a single crash or injury till date despite hundreds of hours of flying.
Using learnings in the past and in a bid to shorten the production and maintenance process, the DRDO has decided to construct the Tejas (Mk-II) in a modular manner and plans to lean onto the private industry over it did in the past.
Modular construction, where components like the fuselage, wings and landing gear area constructed separately but are put together at the finished assembly line, increases the speed of construction and shortens delivery time. Modular construction necessitates detail exacting design of each component and allows on unit to participate in the manufacturing procedure. It helps maintenance and reduces the time between sorties. Components can be changed easily by replacing a module making the fighter readily serviceable. A significant complaint against the initial batch of Tejas fighters was that they were not designed in a modular manner rising maintenance and turn-around time.
The cockpit technology can help regain control of the aircraft the pilot loses awareness or is incapacitated. A helmet-mounted detector will alert ground control, which will be able to take over the aircraft’s controls to safely land the aircraft. ‘It’s an artificial application. Till now we were following (the west), today we wish to take the lead,’ Dr Deodhare explained.
The ADA and DRDO need to guarantee that moving forward they ought to sector. I have to underline that airforcr and DRDO should sort out thrust and electricity requirements or in short what type if engine is being used from the beginning.